According to the NHLPA, Lars Eller and P.K. Subban were among the 20 restricted free agents that filed for arbitration. Arbitration takes place on July 20th, and runs until August 4th.
Subban is coming off his bridge contract, that saw him earn an average of $2.875M per year over a two-year period. Eller is also coming off a two-year contract, worth $1.325M per year.
Both players are due for a raise, however in Subban's case it's more of a deserved lottery win, seeing as he'll likely come out of his current contract situation with one of the richest contracts in league history.
In the last two years Subban has established himself as an elite defenceman. He's produced 28 goals & 81 assists for a total of 109 points over that span of 148 games. He also took home the Norris trophy at 24 years old, and brought back a gold medal from the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Eller on the other hand struggled during the regular season, managing only 12 goals and 14 assists in what was expected to be his breakout season. To his credit, his game play picked up in the playoffs where he transformed into one of Montreal's biggest offensive threats, putting up 5 goals and 8 assists in 17 games.
What does it mean? First of all, it shuts down the option of an offer-sheet. Players still have a small window to sign an OS following filing for arbitration, but neither Subban nor Eller are expected to sign anything. Second, it gives the team a deadline to work within. Although not malicious, it's an option that both restricted free agents would be foolish to neglect, they're simply performing due diligence. Marc Bergevin has been busy with the draft and free agency, and he's likely to be focusing on his restricted free agents now that he has more free time.
There's still plenty of time to negotiate in good faith. Restricted free agents rarely make it to arbitration, but if either player does make it their case will be heard by an independent arbitrator, who will award a fair salary based on both the player and the team's arguments. The team has the option of either a one year or a two year term. If the team refuses to accept the decision, the player automatically becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Subban will likely be looking for something upwards of $8M per year over a long term contract, whereas Lars Eller will probably ask for a hefty raise compared to what he was making over the last two years, something in the $3M per year range.